By Billy Huntsman
The eighth season of New Mexico State University’s Look Who’s Dancing takes place on Sunday, November 8, and hopes to raise more than $80,000 in order to expand the DanceSport program.
The event serves as a fundraiser for NMSU’s DanceSport Company, which is part of NMSU’s Kinesiology & Dance Department. The company raises funds in order to send its members, many of whom are dance majors or minors, to national competitions.
“In the last three years, we’ve brought home 17 national and national collegiate champions,” says Hannah Cole, the company’s director.
Cole says no other college dance team competes together at national competitions.
Cole says this year is the first time the company has sought to expand. Having previously capped membership at 20, Cole says the company now has 23 members. The increase was the result of more talented students auditioning for the team than in years past, Cole says.
With the support of the local community, Cole says raising the $80,000 is “quite possible,” describing the event, which consists of ballroom dancing, as like a football game.
“People will have the opportunity to hoot, holler, boo the judges,” Cole says. “It’s a very interactive experience.”
Now in its eighth season, Look Who’s Dancing was inspired by Dancing With the Stars, and pairs senior members of the company with Las Cruces celebrities—from the pecan industry, Las Cruces Public schools, bank officials, Mary Kay representatives, Las Cruces Homebuilders associates, a hairdresser, and a professor—none of whom have any dance experience.
The students in DanceSport received their partners in the middle of August and have been training ever since, setting their own schedules, designing their own sets and costumes.
“It really acts as a practicum for our students,” Cole says.
Cole says awards for first, second, and third places will be given, as will an Entertainment Award, a People’s Choice Award, and a Superstar Award.
Donny Grooms sits on the company’s volunteer committee, and he also received the Entertainment Award in Season 6.
“It’s a hell of a lot of hard work and more fun than you’ll ever imagine,” Grooms says.